A 2-year-old boy died after his half-sister left him in a hot car parked outside a Tampa-area day care for several hours while the girl was working, a law enforcement spokesman said Wednesday.
Hillsborough County Sheriff deputies were called to the Oak Park Shopping Center Tuesday at 2:40 p.m. at the corner of W. Lumsden Road and Kings Avenue in Brandon.
They were responding to a child found locked in an unattended vehicle, said Det. Larry McKinnon, a representative for the HCSO.
McKinnon told FloridaPolitics.com paramedics rushed Jacob Manchego to Brandon Regional Hospital, where the boy later died.
“We’ve told the public for years about the dangers of leaving small children and animals in hot cars, but we continue to see it happen,” he said. “We have a responsibility to protect our children, so we have to charge people in these cases even though they didn’t intentionally mean to do it.”
Fiorella Vanessa Silva-Tello, Manchengo’s 21-year-old half-sister, arrived for work at the BFF Kidz Child Care Center at 733 West Lumsden Road with Jacob in the back of the SUV she was driving, a police report noted.
Detectives are actively investigating Silva-Tello and any other potential witnesses, along with gathering physical evidence. No charges have been filed against the young woman so far, as the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office continues their portion of the inquiry.
Investigators will be reviewing the prior history of the child, including any calls for service at the residence, McKinnon said.
“In this case, a mother lost her 2-year-old son to her 21-year-old daughter and it’s a terribly sad situation,” the detective said.
He further noted investigators were trying to determine whether Manchego was enrolled at the day care or why he was in the car in the first place.
“That’s all being examined right now and we’re not going to leave any stone unturned,” he said.
In 2015 the Florida state legislature passed a bill — known as the Good Samaritan Law — protecting citizens from lawsuits when they break windows open to cars to free children or pets trapped in overheated cars to save their lives.